January 25, 2005

The Billboard

The billboard said, BLAZE NEW CARPOOL LANES. It had a picture of an SUV---its occupants smiling---driving over the tops of cars stuck in freeway traffic, leaving dented roofs and broken windshields in its wake.

I wondered, as I passed by, if buying the pictured vehicle would really allow me to drive right over anything, including other cars. Probably not. This message, I assume (I hope!) is not meant to be taken literally.

So what is the message? Is it, "Buy this car so you can be better than everyone else?" Is it, "You don't have to be content with what everyone else is stuck with?" Is it that it's OK to walk (or, drive) all over people in order to reach your destination?

That's a message that a lot of people buy into. Corporations buy into it; you gotta flatten the competition before they flatten you. People buy into it; why else do we buy cars and houses that are bigger than we can afford or need? Our government buys into it; it's what drives our foreign policy.

The message that it's OK to just walk, stomp, or drive right over anyone in your way is a message that is all around us. It surrounds us like the fog that's been blanketing the Sacramento Valley these past two weeks. Try as I might, it's hard not to get sucked into believing this message. It's hard for me to resist. I think to myself, I am more important than everyone else. Everything about me cries out to be noticed. My ideas are more important than everyone else's. Admittedly, this belief is one of the reasons I started this blog. The message is all around me, and I have accepted it and made it my own.

But there is also another message I hear. This other message says that I am not above the crowd, but that I and the crowd are one. This other message says that if I want to be truly great, if I really and truly want to rise above the crowd, then I must lower myself and become a servant to the crowd. This other message says that the one who is greatest is not the one who exalts himself or herself, but the one who humbles himself or herself. It says that the one who is meek is the one who will inherit the earth.

Within me struggle these two messages. I pray for the wisdom to listen to the one that, though it speaks softly, is the better of the two.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Hey Danny

I came by way of a comment at Reverend Mommy's sight.
I like your perspective and writing style.

I hope there is room for a fourth in these waters. I don't want to be a Dot.

Take Care